Gulfshore Business Daily: May 15

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Today is the last day to vote for your favorite firms to be honored in our 2020 Best of Business Awards. Gulfshore Business is honoring firms in six sections: The Best in Business Finance & Insurance, The Best in Legal, The Best in Marketing, The Best in Commercial Building & Real Estate, The Best in Business Services, and The Best in Business Dining & Drinks. Cast your vote at by midnight tonight, Friday, May 15, to be counted. No votes will be accepted beyond this date.

Video courtesy of WINK News


Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to reopen nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to bring families back together. The governor wants to figure out a way to allow visitors into facilities where most residents haven’t seen family members for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic. A state task force was created to study the best way to safely reopen, but the governor said there is not a timetable yet for when long-term care facilities will be able to reopen to visitors, WINK News reports.


Two weeks after the rest of Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties may begin partial reopening Monday with Phase 1 of the state’s plan, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday upon signing an executive order. The east coast of South Florida was the hardest hit by the pandemic, but the governor said it makes sense to reopen the counties based on the progress residents have made in fighting COVID-19. Click here to read the governor’s executive order.

Credit: WINK News


Hertz Arena recreational rinks will reopen with limited programming beginning Wednesday. The arena will be open with specific rules in place for freestyle figure skating/lessons, private hockey lessons, the International Skating Academy and private ice rental for training, but no organized gameplay. Some of the new rules that will be implemented include limiting the number of people in a group at one time, practicing social distancing and not allowing spectators. For a full list of policies and procedures in place, see the list at


HBK Healthcare Solutions Group is offering complimentary initial consultations to discuss programs such as the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, Health and Human Services Relief Fund, and the CMS Accelerated Advance Payment Program. The HBK Healthcare Solutions Group can answer your questions about the programs created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide guidance to the doctors, medical practices, and healthcare organizations who want to take advantage of the various benefits. Calls to 855-425-2727 are being accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more details, click here.


Shangri-La Springs in downtown Bonita Springs has reopened, including the gift shop and Harvest & Wisdom, the property’s farm-to-table restaurant. All employees will wear masks and a rigorous disinfecting routine, as well as social distancing, has been implemented. The property’s spa remains closed at this time, but upcoming appointments can be rescheduled by calling 239-949-0749. Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts (SCBR) will open and welcome overnight guests to West Wind InnBeachview Cottages, Castaways Cottages and Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals, effective this Saturday. SCBR’s flagship resort, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa of Captiva Island, has been welcoming overnight guests since May 1. Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has enacted strict Guest Health Policies and Procedures that follow CDC and other governmental guidelines. D’Amico & Sons Naples on U.S. 41 will be open 5 to 8 p.m. with a limited dinner menu beginning today. There is extensive patio space and a water-cooled fan has been added to the patio to make the outdoor dining experience more comfortable. The restaurant will seat the inside space at 25% capacity. All workers have temperature checks at the start of their shifts, the staff is continually sanitizing and cleaning the restaurant throughout service, and tables are disinfected thoroughly after every guest. To-go orders will remain an option. Noodles Italian Cafe & Sushi Bar has resumed dine-in services. its newly remodeled interior dining room. Starting this Saturday, Publix stores will open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the pharmacy will return to regular operating hours. Publix encourages customers who prefer to shop when the store is less crowded to arrive at 7 a.m.


For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19. The annual forecast – which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend – will return next year. Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season. “Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.” Memorial Day 2009 currently holds the record for the lowest travel volume at nearly 31 million travelers, according to AAA. That holiday weekend, which came toward the end of the Great Recession, 26.4 million Americans traveled by car, 2.1 million by plane, and nearly 2 million by other forms of transportation. AAA expects to make travel projections for the late summer and fall, assuming states ease travel restrictions and businesses reopen. online bookings have been rising, though modestly, since mid-April, suggesting travelers’ confidence is slowly improving. When it is safe to travel, AAA predicts vacationers will have a preference for U.S destinations, mostly local and regional locations, and the great American road trip.



Women in Business announces new 2020 APEX Awards date

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Committee has announced a new date for its 2020 APEX Awards, which will now be held on Nov. 13 at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral. The annual APEX Awards recognizes outstanding women in the Greater Fort Myers community who excel in the areas of professionalism, philanthropy and leadership. Through July 1, the community is invited to submit nominations online at Nominees must be current members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. Following a review of all nominations, Women in Business will announce this year’s top five finalists during its monthly networking session on Sept. 2 at the Crowne Plaza at Bell Tower in Fort Myers. These five finalists will go on to be recognized during the gala dinner in November, where one will be named the recipient of this year’s APEX Award. The 15th annual APEX Awards dinner is presented by Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. Tickets are $150 each, available at

Heights Early Learning and Education Center

The Heights Foundation/Heights Center continues $11.8 million education center project

The Heights Foundation/Heights Center continues construction progress on the 36,000 square foot, $11.8 million Heights Early Learning and Education Center. The three-story building located on Hagie Drive in Harlem Heights is the latest addition to The Heights Foundation/Heights Center campus and will serve as the new home for GLAD Kids Early Learning Center and the Harlem Heights Community Charter School. The building is scheduled to open for the 2020-2021 school year. Owen-Ames-Kimball is handling the construction. In addition to classroom space, the building has a large multipurpose room with a capacity to serve meals for 180 students. The building has music and art labs designed with access to an outdoor roof terrace to encourage art exploration and interaction with the environment. The terrace will also host the aquaponics and hydroponics gardens. An outdoor play pavilion is included as part of the design for PE activities. All classrooms have been designed with natural light, flexibility and technology in mind. Eighty-four percent of the project’s budget has been raised so far. Major donors include David Lucas, Jim and Gaye Pigott, The Fernandez Family Foundation, Joe and Joann Catti, Dinah Bloomhall and FineMark Bank & Trust, as well as several anonymous donors. For more information, visit

Kevin James

Owen-Ames-Kimball Florida appoints project manager

Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. (O-A-K) has appointed Kevin James as a project manager in the company’s Fort Myers office.  James is currently managing the Lee Tran bus shelters project and will manage the construction of the new Family Health Centers building on Summer Ridge Lane. James has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, including working as a construction coordinator working directly with the clients of $250,000 to $1.4 million homes and serving as a project manager and estimator in the commercial construction industry for both public and private sector projects. James graduated from Cape Coral High School and attended Edison Community College (now Florida Southwestern State College). He also completed courses in masonry at the Lee County Vocational-Technical Center. He is an AutoCAD technician and has continued his education and training throughout his career, including supervisory and management courses.

Laird A. Lile, PLLC, names 2020 summer associate

Naples-based law firm Laird A. Lile PLLC has accepted Langdon Lile as its 2020 summer associate. In the position, Lile assists with research, drafting documents, and administration of estates and trusts. Lile has completed his second year of studies at the University of Miami School of Law, where he serves as president of the Honor Council. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Virginia with a concentration in American politics. Lile also earned a Certificate with Distinction in Business Fundamentals from the McIntire School of Commerce at UVA. In 2019, Lile served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Edwin A. Scales III in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal in Miami. He served as a staff assistant to Florida Sen. Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo in Tallahassee from January to August 2018. Lile will continue his summer associate experience in July and August with Thompson Hine, a Cleveland, Ohio-based Am Law 200 firm.

United Way of Collier and the Keys appoints new board members 

United Way of Collier and the Keys has appointed seven new members to its Board of Directors: Bill Doxey, vice president, CenterState Bank of Florida; Diana Halenz, owner of Diana M. Halenz, CPA, LLC; Maria Jones, member services supervisor for Florida Keys Electric Cooperative; John Slavik, South Florida senior vice president and retail executive II with Fifth Third Bancorp; Richard Tamborrino, publisher and editor of The Key West Citizen, Free Press, and; Trich Worthington, senior vice president and retail manager for the Florida Keys Market for IBERIABANK; and Karen Woodbridge, retired director of community relations and special assistant to the vice president and secretary of the University at Princeton. Maria Jones will act as vice-chair for the board. 


Pelican Wire is contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

Pelican Wire donates wire for face masks

In an effort to contribute directly to the fight against COVID-19, Pelican Wire has donated a large quantity of precision wire to ZSK, an embroidery equipment manufacturer that specializes in technical embroidery for putting wires and nonstandard materials into fabrics. Bendshape, a wearable electronics company, is also a development partner in this project with ZSK, who is taking the lead on production. While remaining open as an ‘Essential Business’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pelican Wire has been manufacturing numerous custom wire solutions for other ‘Essential’ business partners in key industries but was particularly pleased to join in a ‘front-line cause’ as this project offered.

Greater Naples AAUW Charitable Foundation awards scholarships

Greater Naples AAUW Charitable Foundation has awarded Taylor Sorrell with its Albert Mangini Memorial Scholarship of the Local Scholarship Fund. Sorrell plans to pursue a degree in biological engineering from Purdue and return to Southwest Florida to work on preventing diseases in crops. Juanita Guerrero received the Rose DiBiasi Tribute Scholarship of the Foundation’s Local Scholarship Fund. Guerrero is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in degree in nursing at Florida SouthWestern State College. Britney Garcia and Sandra Gregorio-Matias received the first Laura A. Candris Scholarships. Garcia will begin at Florida State University (FSU) this summer majoring in clinical professions. Gregorio-Matais will also attend FSU and wants to become a doctor. The Foundation has a Named Scholarship Opportunity for a minimum donation of $1,500 to its Local Scholarship Fund.  For more information, click here.

Naples Motorsports hosting vehicle sanitizing event with proceeds benefiting NCH

Naples Motorsports in partnership with John Demertzis, LPL Financial and Ultimate Garages is offering community members the chance to sanitize their vehicles from COVID-19. The Naples Motorsports’ fogging machine sanitizes vehicles from a week to 10 days. A $25 minimum donation per vehicle is suggested for this first-come, first-served event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Naples Motorsports, 1250 Airport-Pulling Road. S. in East Naples. All proceeds raised from this fundraising event will benefit the NCH Healthcare System Nursing Education Program.  Event organizers will be adhering to Florida Department of Health and CDC guidelines for physical distancing and other protection protocols to ensure the public’s safety during this event.

2020 Parade of Parents

Village School of Naples honors teachers with ‘Parade of Parents’

The Village School of Naples recently honored its more than 100 faculty and staff members by hosting a “Parade of Parents” during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Organized by the Parent Association, the event gave students and their families the opportunity to show their love and support for their teachers with a beep of the horn and wave. More than 200 decorated vehicles participated, winding around the campus parking lot drive-thru lane. The school’s faculty and staff, in adherence to socially distancing guidelines, were lined up six feet apart from one another, in order of division (Preschool, Lower School, Middle School and Upper School). 

St. Matthew’s House continues to feed families in need at new distribution site

St. Matthew’s House fed 451 families on Tuesday during its continuously scheduled food drives amid COVID-19. St. Matthew’s House hosted another food drive from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday at its new food distribution site at First Baptist Church of Naples at 3000 Orange Blossom Drive. The Harry Chapin Food Bank truck arrives each morning at about 10 a.m. for the food drive, dropping off 10-15,000 pounds of food, much of which is fresh produce. Then a small army of volunteers, some out of work themselves, form an assembly line and organize and pack the food onto tables in two rows before each family arrives to get about $75-$100 worth of food.

Southwest Florida couple donates 125,000 to the American Heart Association

Paul and Barbie Hills, a Southwest Florida couple, donated $125,000 to the American Heart Association as a challenge to others in the community to offer what they can. The Hills are passionate about the research of the American Heart Association that focuses on Congenital Heart Defects and the organization’s Heart Heroes program, a supportive group for our youngest heroes battling heart conditions. The Heart Heroes program is a centerpiece of the upcoming Virtual Heart Ball on June 5, where the Hills couple hopes their gift will be matched several times over. You can join the movement by donating or joining them on June 5 at the SWFL Virtual Heart Ball.

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